What is Tooth Decay?
It's Only Bad Breath. Or is it?
Breath odor is the scent of the air you breathe out of your mouth. Unpleasant, distinctive, or offensive breath odor is commonly called bad breath.
Alternative Names: Halitosis
-In some cases bad breath may be a symptom of an illness
-Consumption of certain food or beverages (such as cabbage, garlic, raw onions, or coffee)
-Foreign body in the nose (usually in children)
-Poor dental hygiene
-Bowel obstruction (can cause breath to smell like feces)
-Chronic renal failure (can cause breath to smell like ammonia)
-Diabetes (fruity or sweet chemical smell with ketoacidosis)
Use proper dental hygiene (especially flossing), and remember that mouthwashes are not effective in treating the underlying problem.
Fresh parsley or a strong mint are often effective ways to fight temporary bad breath. Avoid smoking. Otherwise, follow prescribed therapy to treat the underlying cause.
When to Contact a Dental Professional
-Breath odor persists and there is not an obvious cause (such as smoking or eating odor-causing foods).
-You have breath odor and signs of a respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, or face pain with discharge from the nose
Some things your dentist or hygienist might ask you:
Do you take vitamin supplements?
Do you smoke?
Does good oral hygiene improve the odor?
What home care measures have you tried? How effective are they?
Is there a recent sore throat, sinus infection, tooth abscess, or other illness?
What other symptoms do you have?
The physical examination will include a thorough examination of the mouth and the nose.
You may be in need of a thorough dental examination and cleaning.
Our team of dental specialists and staff strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Please use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, contact us.
Plaque is an insidious substance—a colorless, sticky film—that blankets your teeth and creates an environment in which bacteria erode tooth enamel, cause gum irritation, infection in inner structures such as pulp and the roots, and in extreme cases, tooth loss.
Some of the biggest culprits causing plaque are foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates, including soda beverages, some juices, candy and many kinds of pasta, breads and cereals.
Plaque also can attack fillings and other restorations in your mouth, which can lead to more costly treatment down the road.
Plaque is the main cause of tooth decay. It can also cause your gums to become irritated, inflamed, and bleed. Over time, the plaque underneath your gums may cause periodontal disease, which can lead to bone loss and eventual tooth loss.
Inside your teeth, decay can gradually destroy the inner layer, or dentin. It can also destroy the pulp, which contains blood vessels, nerves and other tissues, as well as the root.
Periodontal disease is advanced gum disease. This serious condition occurs when the structures that support your teeth—the gums and bone—break down from the infection. Pain, hypersensitivity and bleeding are some of the signs of periodontal disease.
Simple Preventative Measures
The two best defenses against tooth decay and gum disease are a healthy, well-balanced diet and good oral hygiene, including daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing and rinsing. Most public drinking water contains fluoride, but if you are unsure of your water supply, then use a good quality mouth rinse containing fluoride.
A good way to help your oral health between brushing is chewing sugarless gum; this stimulates your body's production of saliva, a powerful chemical that actually neutralizes plaque formation and rinses decay-causing food particles and debris from your mouth.
In some cases, our office can prescribe anti-cavity rinses or apply special anti-cavity varnishes or sealants to help fight decay.